Sweden to Switch to a 6 Hour Working Day – Booking my Plane ticket Now!
We all know the Office mentality that affects many of us across the developed world. Work, work, work and more work. Just how productive are we when put in many hours above the standard working week? Does your Boss and your Peers frown on you for finishing early sometimes? It has been proven that you can increase your chance of a stroke by 33% if you work 55 hours per week compared to someone who works less than 40 hours. Well, Sweden as a very progressive country is moving towards a 6 hour working day and many businesses have already phased this in.
There is more to life than work and the Swedes are leading the way. Work life balance is so important and scientifically it has been proven that less hours equate to a healthier life.
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“I think the 8-hour work day is not as effective as one would think. To stay focused on a specific work task for 8 hours is a huge challenge. In order to cope, we mix in things and pauses to make the work day more endurable. At the same time, we are having it hard to manage our private life outside of work,” Linus Feldt, CEO of Stockholm-based app developer Filimundus, told Adele Peters at Fast Company.
Filimundus switched to a 6-hour day last year, and Feldt says their staff haven’t looked back. “We want to spend more time with our families, we want to learn new things or exercise more. I wanted to see if there could be a way to mix these things,”he said.
To cope with the significant cut in working hours, Feldt says staff are asked to stay off social media and other distractions while at work and meetings are kept to a minimum. “My impression now is that it is easier to focus more intensely on the work that needs to be done and you have the stamina to do it and still have energy left when leaving the office,” he told Fast Company.
The thinking behind the move is that because the working day has been condensed, staff will be more motivated and have more energy to get more done in a shorter period of time. Feldt reports that not only has productivity stayed the same, there are less staff conflicts because people are happier and better rested.
No doubt Filimundus was looking at the several Toyota service centres in Gothenburg, which switched to a six-hour day 13 years ago and report happier staff, a lower turnover rate, and ease in enticing new employees to come on board. “They have a shorter travel time to work, there is more efficient use of the machines and lower capital costs – everyone is happy,” the managing director Martin Banck told David Crouch at The Guardian, adding that profits have risen by 25 percent.
Back in February, a Svartedalens retirement home in Gothenburg implemented a 6-hour work day for their nurses with no changes to wage, and will be running the experiment till the end of 2016 to figure out if the high cost of hiring 14 new staff members to cover the lost hours is worth the improvements to patient care and employee morale.
“The Svartedalens experiment is inspiring others around Sweden: at Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska University hospital, orthopaedic surgery has moved to a 6-hour day, as have doctors and nurses in two hospital departments in Umeå to the north,” The Guardian reports.
As previously stated in the past month or so, Paul Kelley from Oxford University’s Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute saying that society is in the midst of a sleep-deprivation crisis, because our 9-5 working hours are at odds with our internal body clocks. “Staff should start at 10am… Staff are usually sleep-deprived,” Kelley said. “Everybody is suffering and they don’t have to. We cannot change out 24-hour rhythms.”